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By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Thomas Jefferson
George Mason's home, Gunston Hall, just down the river from Mount Vernon, is closed on Thanksgiving Day but reopens to visitors the day after. In this season when Americans reflect upon all that we are grateful for, these stately and hallowed grounds are a good place to start.
Those who believe in American exceptionalism don't reject foreigners. They recognize what's unique about our history: a distinctive confluence of culture, government and economy, and an ethos of personal responsibility that tamed the economy's wild horses and tempered the potentially anarchic tendencies of free people. These, not government action, gave rise to the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.
I always have to suppress a horse laugh when conservative friends piously assure me they are "strict constructionists" when it comes to interpreting our revered U.S. Constitution. The Mosaic myth that our founding document was set in stone by visionary statesmen who studded it with inherent virtues that can be tampered with only at our peril, is just that — a myth.
Has America become hopelessly tacky thanks to reality TV, celebrity gossip, baby daddies, tattoos and trailer parks? Someone has at last sounded a tasteful alarm about a trend that has permeated just about everything, including politics.
The courts have given us little relief from the regulatory state
The Founders held religion-based virtue as essential for self-rule
President Obama says it would be folly for the White House to negotiate with Congress over the government's debt — but the nation's founders thought differently.
U.S. embassies around the world are conducting most diplomatic services in the second week of the partial government shutdown, although some ambassadors note they are not doing "business as usual."
"We've got to move beyond partisan politics on this issue" is the mantra employed by most candidates running for office every election cycle. Yet the more perfect union promised by the Constitution that we celebrated this week is dissolving by the day. Given, in James Madison's words, that "faction is sown into the nature of man," did our Founders attempt the impossible in seeking to establish a flourishing republic?
Vladimir Putin, as our English cousins might put it, is too clever by half. In his Thursday op-ed essay in The New York Times, he couldn't resist needling President Obama's calling America "an exceptional nation," and tried to instruct him in the perils of hubris: "It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional."
Spacey ideologues are alien to the American way
President Obama declared Friday that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is not a patriot. Snowden has secured asylum in Russia after leaking widespread collection of phone, e-mail and web browsing data of millions of Americans by the NSA.
President Obama has insulted the memory of the nearly 60,000 Americans who died in Vietnam. Last week, Mr. Obama met with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang.
Iranian-American scholar Reza Aslan has grabbed a fair amount of headlines the past 10 days since his contentious interview with Fox News Channel religion correspondent Lauren Green. The fact that trying to discuss a complex subject via remote video connection — Mr. Aslan was not in the studio with Ms. Green — can yield problems was, sadly, demonstrated in a clip that "went viral," as is often said about Internet-based miscellany.
W hen Edward Snowden revealed that the federal government, in direct defiance of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, was unlawfully and unconstitutionally spying on all Americans who use telephones, text messaging or emails to communicate with other people, he opened a Pandora's box of allegations and recriminations.
"Private charities, as well as contributions to public purposes in proportion to everyone's circumstances, are certainly among the duties we owe to society," Thomas Jefferson once said — and Americans have been living up to that creed ever since.
He took ideas from Swiss natural law philosopher Emmerich de Vattel to write the Declaration of Independence, and he was a great admirer of the French philosopher Voltaire.